The meaning of the film “Tale of Tales”

The work of the famous famous Soviet animator Yuri Norshtein and his wife Francesca Yarbusova based on the script by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya won many awards at international festivals. The cartoon is not easy to understand, although everyone can watch it – both adults and children.

The plot of the work

There is no single linear plot here, with a simple plot, climax and denouement. However, through the whole cartoon, through many of its layers, stories and poetic visions, the image of a wolf cub passes, a Spinning top – the same one from a children’s fairy tale.

In the first scene, we see a baby suckling her mother’s breast, she hums a lullaby “A gray top will come.” And here is the top – he is right there, he looks at the child and sees him.

Then we are transported to another world, magical, where the poet and mythical creatures live: a bull, a fabulous cat, an amazing fish that swims right in the air, and even a penguin. The poet is busy with what the creator is supposed to do – he suffers and creates. His wife is doing the washing, rocking the cradle with the baby. A girl in a panama hat jumps over a rope, which is twirled by a huge but cute bull.

Another scene – again the old house and in front of it are tables in a row, covered with a large white tablecloth. The wind picks up and blows the tablecloth away. The old house is abandoned, boarded up. There is no one left, only a little wolf cub wanders through the dump of old things. He remembers, he sees a pre-war waltz, couples are spinning. And suddenly the women are left alone – the men, dressed in raincoats, go into the distance. And rectangles of death notices fly to women like birds, the sound of their paper wings as sharp as a gunshot.

But here we are transported to the winter forest. Crows are sitting on the branches of trees and … a plump boy, whose cheeks are like apples. And he also gnaws an apple, looks at the crows and shares a treat with them. Nearby, on a bench, a boring grumbling mom and an imposing drinking dad. Having finished the bottle, the father proudly, like a man, stands up, an imaginary Napoleonic cocked hat rises on his head. The boy is dragged by the hand, he catches up with his father – also in a cocked hat.

We see the top again – he bakes potatoes in a fire. We see the light from the headlights of passing cars. A mysterious light pours from the door of the wooden house and the top goes to him. He ends up in the country where the poet and his family live. Creeping up to the poet’s table, the top grabs and takes away the manuscript – it was from her that the magic light came. He runs with this manuscript through the forest, along the road with cars, and suddenly … a roll of paper turns into a crying baby. The top finds the cradle, puts the baby down and sings a lullaby to him – yes, the same one about the top. The child laughs and plays with the animal. So what is this kaleidoscope of wondrous visions about?

The meaning of the film “Tale of Tales”

It is very important to understand that Norstein did not make an ordinary plot film, but an amazing work, whose images are so strong that they appeal to our feelings completely bypassing the mind. You look at this spinning top, at the soldiers going into the distance, at the boy with crows, at the paradise views with wonderful animals and you RECOGNIZE them, they tell you about something most important, you know what, but you cannot say.

Of course, this is a top from a lullaby – as a symbol of childhood and the human soul. The old house was in the lives of most of us. You have already left it. But is there no one left at all? The character of a children’s fairy tale remained, like a brownie.

The mysterious world in which the poet lives with his family is an imaginary, ideal world, some kind of poetic paradise in which time has stopped, there are no ordinary anxieties of life here. Here, Picasso’s formidable bull turns into a meek and infinitely kind little animal – running errands for his little daughter.

The scene with the crows and the boy is absolutely clear: this is a child whose purity and closeness to nature is undeniable, he lives in his heart and the depravity, vulgarity of his parents has not yet affected him. But before our eyes, he turns into an ordinary person, a member of his ordinary family.

The war scenes in the film are particularly poignant – a tragedy of life, and, more importantly, death. A fate crippled by war. This world is terrible, it is tragic, but it has a magical space of childhood, fairy tales and … creativity.

The meaning of the final

The very top that you need to be afraid of becomes a symbol of trust in life, acceptance of it in its entirety, despite the fact that it can be truly terrible – is there anything worse than war? An ancient lullaby – did you know that it comes from a funeral rite? – suddenly becomes a song of hope. Were you scared of the wolf? And he is a symbol of love in this film.

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